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Cassini Finds Likely Subsurface Ocean on Saturn Moon
Data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have revealed Saturn’s moon Titan likely harbors a layer of liquid water under its ice shell.
Researchers saw a large amount of squeezing and stretching as the moon orbited Saturn. They deduced that if Titan were composed entirely of stiff rock, the gravitational attraction of Saturn would cause bulges, or solid “tides,” on the moon only 1 meter in height. Spacecraft data show Saturn creates solid tides approximately 10 meters in height, which suggests Titan is not made entirely of solid rocky material.
An ocean layer does not have to be huge or deep to create these tides. A liquid layer between the external, deformable shell and a solid mantle would enable Titan to bulge and compress as it orbits Saturn [Video]. Because Titan’s surface is mostly made of water ice, which is abundant in moons of the outer solar system, scientists infer Titan’s ocean is likely mostly liquid water.
The presence of a subsurface layer of liquid water at Titan is not itself an indicator for life. Scientists think life is more likely to arise when liquid water is in contact with rock, and these measurements cannot tell whether the ocean bottom is made up of rock or ice. The results have a bigger implication for the mystery of methane replenishment on Titan.
Image: This artist’s concept shows a possible scenario for the internal structure of Titan, as suggested by data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Scientists have been trying to determine what is under Titan’s organic-rich atmosphere and icy crust.
If you know anything about me, you know how important it is that I reblog this.
Fukang rock is out of this world!
Found in the Gobi Desert in China, this mysterious meteorite is absolutely breathtaking (and on the market)! The translucent golden crystals are a mineral called olivine, the rest of the meteorite is made up of nickel-iron.
this photo just made my day.
Around the world in 90 minutes
This is the sound of the aurora on Saturn. Pretty eerie, no?
There is no sound in space. Outside planets and stars, molecules are spread out too thin for sound to propagate. It follows, then, that we can’t really hear sounds planets emit into space. But radio waves—electromagnetic waves with wavelengths longer than infrared light—are, as we know, handy for representing sound. And so it makes sense for us to interpret radio waves, whether originally encoding sound or not, as sound. These are radio waves emitted in conjunction with auroras around Saturn’s poles, similar to the northern and southern lights on Earth. They were picked up by the Cassini spacecraft and then interpreted as sound. But the sound was not in the audible range, so it has been downshifted by a factor of 44. And finally, so as not to bore us to death, it has been speeded up by a factor of 22. Realize, then, that many human choices were made in order for us to be able to “listen to space.” But if you can accept that, you can enjoy this.
I saw my first shooting star tonight.
I was lying at my new premiere smoking spot at the very top of my roof, which of course I didn’t start utilizing until my last month living here after nineteen years and over six of smoking. I was playing Great Big Gig in the Sky (I know it’s stereotypical but honestly it’s the perfect stargazing music, i could lie there for days if the sun didn’t come out). And I was looking up at the starlit canopy above me with no less amazement than any time before. That’s when I saw my first shooting star. It was magnificent and bright with a long tail; i smiled. I probably had that dumb grin on my face for almost a minute.
It just feels so right when you are looking up in the stars; you forget about all your petty humanly problems when you realize that there is something so much greater than any of us, and it’s all so beautiful. I get lost in the stars, in that feeling; and quite frankly in those moments I have no desire to be found. Because when you think about it, we are a society of organisms living on nothing more than the head of a pin, in the whole cosmic spectrum…but I’ll save that thought for another post.
I also saw a potential UFO, well it was a UFO because it was certainly unidentified. It was dimmer than the majority of the stars out, and looked like one until I realized it was moving. At first I dismissed it for a plane, but it was much to high and much too dim to be a plane. It also didn’t move as fast as a plane would across the sky, but it was probably going way faster because it was definitely fucking aliens. I also thought it could be the ISS, or another satellite…but we’ll just stick with aliens to make this post a little more interesting.
Space is just so fucking stellar.
note to anyone reading this: whenever i die, I want my body launched into space so it can wander forever through the intergalactic plane. And don’t let anyone try to convince you that I want otherwise.
“ The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the “Milky Way”. ”
I just stumbled upon/downloaded the Universe Sandbox.
It’s an astro-physically realistic representation of both our functioning solar system, as well as what would happen if you were to make planets collide and cause cosmic cataclysm.
I think I’m in love.
Space Capsule by Jorge Lopez
A nuclear explosion seen from space during US testing over the Pacific in 1962.
The ramifications of those bad boys are wild, and disconcerting.